I just picked up some totally awesome SUFI MEDITATIVE music from the Awesome Tapes From Africa blog. You probably know that one, if not, git yer behind over there, because it totally kills. This is vocal music again, same as my post on Ensemble Tirana. Mainstream scholars of Islam define sufism as simply the name for the inner or esoteric dimension of Islam. Classical Sufi scholars have defined Sufism as “a science whose objective is the reparation of the heart and turning it away from all else but God”. Alternatively, in the words of the Darqawi Sufi teacher Ahmad ibn Ajiba, “a science through which one can know how to travel into the presence of the Divine, purify one’s inner self from filth, and beautify it with a variety of praiseworthy traits”.

check this great music out here:
El Hadj Hamado Kanazoe

Face A
Nabi Yaam Pingr

Face B
Nabi Yaam Siifo

Classical Sufis were characterised by their attachment to dhikr (a practice of repeating the names of God) and asceticism. Sufism gained adherents among a number of Muslims as a reaction against the worldliness of the early Umayyad Caliphate (661-750 CE). Sufis have spanned several continents and cultures over a millennium, at first expressed through Arabic, then through Persian, Turkish and a dozen other languages. There’s more on this, as well as a big pile of information on African Islam/Sufi music and teachings from another blog called African Music Treasures:

Since the 9th century there have been several different Islamic waves that have washed across the Malian Sahara, pushing south into the Sahel. Berber and Tuareg merchants from Northern Africa, whose commercial success often depended on the strength of their religious networks, first brought Islam to Mali in the 9th century. This first wave of conversions was followed by a second that came in the wake of the twenty-five year reign (1312-1337) of Mansa Musa, one of the most powerful and devout king’s of the Mali Empire. His wealth and fame reached beyond the shores of the Sahara and drew Muslim scholars, artisans, architects and traders to his capital of Niani. The third, and perhaps most dramatic wave (it wasn’t until the twentieth century that Islam became the religion of the majority of Malians) came from the Senegal River valley. El Hadj Umar Tall was born, around 1797, in the heart of the Futa-Tooro, the region that straddles the Senegal-Mauritania border, and that remains home to the Fulani people, who formed the backbone of his religious and military empire. A devout adherent of the Tijjaniya brotherhood, El Hadj Umar kicked off, in 1848, a jihad that lasted until his death in 1864. And it was after his defeat of the Kingdom of Ségou, on March 10, 1861, that many Bambara –the culturally dominant ethnic group in Mali- converted to Islam.

This is also cool, another piece on Sufi Music from the same source:
“Over the last forty years there has been a growing interest among European and American scholars and seekers in Sufism, the mystical dimension of Islam. In particular, many musicians and music-lovers have drawn inspiration from the musical rituals that serve as roadmaps for the many Sufi paths to enlightment. Today, for example, recordings by artists like the late Pakistani Qawwali singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, the Al-Kindi ensemble from Syria, or the Turkish Mevlevi Order (the world-famous Whirling Dervishes) find homes in many eclectic record collections, and are name-checked by artists from Eddie Veder of Pearl Jam, Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin, to free-jazz drummer Hamid Drake. The many musical manifestations of Islam found throughout Africa, however, remain off the beaten paths of most ‘World-music’ bushwhackers..”

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